Erin Andrews is a cancer survivor.
Andrews learned she had cervical cancer in September, shortly after settling her $55 million lawsuit against the Nashville Marriott, where a stranger secretly filmed her in the nude. She says getting through the lawsuit toughened her up for her cancer diagnosis.
“After the trial everyone kept telling me, ‘You’re so strong, for going through all of this, for holding down a job in football, for being the only woman on the crew,’ ” Andrews says. “Finally I got to the point where I believed it too. ‘Hey, I have cancer, but dammit, I am strong, and I can do this.’ “
Andrews’ oncologist told her that she needed surgery almost immediately, but the NFL on Fox sideline reporter stuck around for a game the next day, before flying out to Los Angeles to deal with her diagnosis.
Andrews eventually underwent surgery 17 days later, on Oct. 11, and told her doctor that she had to be back to health in time to cover that Sunday’s game.
“I’m not watching any football games at home this year,” she told him. “This is our Super Bowl year, and I’m not missing the Super Bowl.”
Her boyfriend, now fiancé, former NHL player Jarret Stoll, tried to get her to reconsider.
“Let’s not worry about that right now,” he said. “Let’s just get you better.”
“You wouldn’t miss a game,” Andrews responded. “You’d play through any injury, do whatever it takes to get back out there. That’s going to be me.”
WATCH: Erin Andrews Reveals She Was Back on the Field 2 Days After Surgery to Treat Cervical Cancer
And just two days after surgery, she was on a plane to Green Bay, Wisconsin, for a Packers game that weekend.
“Should I have been standing for a full game five days after surgery? Let’s just say the doctor didn’t recommend that,” Andrews says. “But just as I felt during my trial, sports were my escape. I needed to be with my crew.”
On Nov. 1, Andrews underwent a second procedure, and she learned 16 days later that she was all clear, and would not need radiation or chemotherapy.
From these two major hardships, Andrews believes she’s gained a greater understanding of her job.
“In a way, this all has allowed me related to players more,” she says. “I understand what it’s like to be the story.”